Ordinance to Ban Camping | Information

In alignment with our mission, the Denver VOICE board believes it is important that all voices be heard before a decision is made—voices from the business community, from residents and from the homeless population directly affected.

We hope to provide a venue for discussion between all parties here. There are valid concerns from all sides of this issue and we feel that facilitating an honest dialogue between the impacted parties will ensure the optimal solution is found.

Check out our May issue for a listing of facts and opinions from our vendors and others. 

Below are links to a number of articles, opinions, statements and facts related to the issue. Happy researching!


Protests greet final passage of Denver homeless-camping ban, Denver Post, May 15 2012

Photos from the vote/meeting, Denver Post, May 14 2012

Denver camping ban, up for vote today, may hit homeless families hard, Denver Post, May 14 2012

Denver poised to make urban camping illegal; homeless advocates say ban goes too far, The Republic, May 14 2012

Editorial: Right approach on Denver camping ban, Denver Post, May 14 2012

Following campers on the 16th Street Mall, 9News, May 13 2012

Chief White: Camping Ban Would Be Enforced On Case-By-Case Basis, CBS 4, May 12 2012

Denver's camping rule could send homeless packing to Aurora, Aurora Sentinal, May 11 2012

Rosen: Unhappy campers in Denver? Good., Denver Post, May 10 2012

Guest Commentary: Denver's urban camping ordinance should consider women, Denver Post, May 9 2012

Urban camping ban: Lawyers make plans for pro bono defense of offenders, Westword, May 8 2012

Denver camping ban debate brings complex issue, faltering initiative into the light, Denver Post, May 6 2012

Denver suburbs brace for camping ban, Denver Post, May 6 2012

LETTER: Proposed city ordinance isn’t way to curb homelessness, The Colorado Statesman, May 4 2012

Denver’s Better Way to Battle Homelessness, Project on Social Innovation, originally: This post from Charles Chieppo was originally published on Governing.com’s Better, Faster, Cheaper blog on May 3, 2012. Chieppo is a research fellow at the Ash Center of the Harvard Kennedy School and the principal of Chieppo Strategies, a public policy writing and advocacy firm.


Denver scrambles to keep homeless shelters open for summer in case of camping ban, Denver Post, April 30 2012

Special patrol offers help as Denver weighs homeless camping ban, Denver Post, April 28 2012

TIME LINE: Urban camping: A timeline of how the ban began -- and where it's headed, Latest Word Blog, Westword, April 25 2012

 Councilman Albus Brooks discusses the proposed ban on urban camping, Westword, April 25 2012

Denver committee sends homeless-camping ban to full council, Denver Post, April 24 2012

Amid debate, Denver City Council considers homeless camping ordinance, 9News, April 24 2012

Denver business community backs homeless camping ban, Denver Post, April 24 2012

Effect of camping bans debated as Denver considers ordinance, Denver Post, April 22 2012

Denver police chief: Few homeless face arrest if camping ban passes, Denver Post, April 18 2012

Bill to ban public camping in Denver moves forward, 9News, April 18 2012

Denver Camping Ban Faces Police Department Scrutiny, 'Passive' Enforcement Approach, Huffington Post, April 18 2012

Camping-ban fight intensifies as ACLU asks Denver to nix measure, Denver Post, April 17 2012

Critics, supporters, pack Denver City Council illegal-camping hearing, Denver Post, April 4 2012

Sides drawn on proposed Denver camping ban, Denver Post, March 28 2012


Urban camping ban: Denver City Council delays vote -- for a week, Westword's Latest Word, April 24 2012

... in front of the council's Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure committee, the debate focused predominantly on the push for extra time to debate... Although the ordinance passed out of the committee this afternoon, amendments could still be added. Among the options suggested by council members was a plan to require an annual report and a rule nixing enforcement when shelter or outreach are unavailable. ...

Editorial: A needed delay on criminalization, Occupy Denver, April 23 2012

Denver camping ban discussion: Incorrect arrest figures cited at council meeting, The Spot, Denver Post, April 18 2012


 Guest opinion: Plan for the homeless, Boulder Daily Camera, April 28 2012

Carroll: Take back downtown Denver, Denver Post, April 25 2012

... "No one sitting at this [council] table wants to criminalize homelessness," Councilwoman Peggy Lehmann said Tuesday. But that doesn't mean we have to turn over downtown to them.

Guest Commentary: Denver's camping ordinance reasonable, Denver Post, April 19 2012


Webinar: Searching Out Solutions: Alternatives to the Criminalization of Homelessness, US Interagendy Council on Homelessness, April 16 2012

Study: Point in Time 2011, Metro Denver Homeless Initiative


To be clear, 40-45% of the homeless population is in the city and county of Denver because services and shelters are here. It allows other folks to understand this is not a viable option for people to com "rather than kicking people out of Denver, stops the flow into Denver."   "It does not solve homelessness and it’s not trying to solve homelessness, but give the city the opportunity to protect those properties that have been invested in." Councilman Albus Brooks, District 8, interview with the Denver VOICE

"Last summer there was concern about the number of people sleeping outside throughout the city, specifically 16th Street Mall, Triangle Park, Civic Center Park and along the Platte River. .... A lot of folks are saying that it’s all homeless folks, but that’s not true. On the 16th Street Mall there are outreach workers that survey individuals and they are from all over the state and all walks of life." Councilman Albus Brooks, District 8, introducing the ordinance

"Our approach to this is passive. The last thing officers want to do is arrest someone for being homeless."  Denver Police Chief Robert White at a City Council committee meeting in April, Denver Post, April 18 2012

"We expect an increased need of resources through this proposed ordinance and the Administration, council members and other partners are working to enhance and formalize resources ranging from shelters to mental health services to affordable housing. We know we cannot do this alone. We must work closely with our community and regional partners to provide the resources necessary to vulnerable populations, while maintaining the integrity of our vibrant City." Mayor Michael B. Hancock's spokesperson 

"The Downtown Denver Partnership is supportive of Councilman Brooks’ vision, along with Mayor Hancock’s plan for a balanced approach to addressing the challenges of unauthorized camping; this includes the support of this ordinance to address short-term immediate needs to improve the Downtown environment, and, even more importantly, the support of community efforts that provide long term solutions to end homelessness." Tami Door, Executive director of the Downtown Denver Partnership

“It’s funny. Almost every time I go somewhere and talk about homeless issues, that community thinks they are attracting the homeless to that community. … that argument seems to be pretty universal, and of course, they can’t all be true… I think the key is we need services distributed throughout the metro area, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do... I don’t know the ordinance has much impact on that, frankly.” Greg Harms, Executive Director of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless


"People need to sleep somewhere and the city needs to find a solution. These protestors made it worse for everyone, especially the really homeless people." Manuela Shaw, vendor for nearly five years

"I read the proposed anti-camping law and it is nothing but a law that makes being homeless illegal. The city council is trying to get rid of the homeless and Occupy protestors, but the homeless will suffer the most from this law. Who else is less able to pay the fines imposed by this law, and what happens when they can's pay? Into jail they go and their criminal records grow. We can't let the ex-mayor and new governor Hickenlooper's dream become somebody's nightmare." Brian Augustine, vendor for 19 mos

"This ordinance is an eraser. Nothing more. Out of sight, out of mind. It is the equivalent of pancake makeup on a black eye ... sad, ugly, and fooling no one." Eric "Fuzzy" Johnson, vendor for nearly five years

"While many are worried about where the Homeless sleep they seem to have forgotten laws already on the books. ... many serious crimes will be committed while the DPD are waking, running ID’s and evicting a Homeless person; for the money. Easier to round up sheep then chase wolves." Alex "Max" Maxwell, vendor for three years 


Denver Sit & Lie Ordinance **** Enacted - 2005 Number of arrests - 0

Mayor appointed Shelter Review Completed June 2012*****

Number of homeless in Denver City & County* — 4166

Number of Beds in Denver City & County*** — 1,075 year-round beds and 420 seasonal overflow beds

Number of beds that would need be added to serve all in Denver City & County*** — 2671

Denver Homeless where last permanent resident was not Denver City & County* — 257

Denver Homeless where last permanent resident was Denver City & County* — 1640


Adams (1531 Homeless - 15.5%)

Arapahoe (866 Homeless - 8.7%)

Boulder (1779 Homeless - 18.0%)

Broomfield City & County (241 - 2.4%)

Denver City & County (4,166 - 42.1%)

Douglas County (125 - 1.3%)

Jefferson (1191 - 12.0%) 

SOURCES: *PIT 2011  **Councilman Albus Brooks interview with the Denver VOICE   ***Colorado Coalition for the homeless    ****Denver Police Department   *****City Department of Human Services